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Becoming Untouchable, a Prose Poem by Marcia W. Mount Shoop

Becoming untouchable takes time. Start young. Instill quiet oppression. Reinforce the stakes, ignore the quakes, the terror. Regular injections of shame, frequent threats by name. Don’t forget to eat the blame.


Violence brazen and hushed, forceful when pushed. Manipulate naked truth, expectations diluted, and grief stifled, rifled, and mocked. Trust no one. Especially not yourself. 


Softer cruelty installs the final layer, the hardening, the withering, the lost prayer. A tiny opening enough to penetrate beyond epidermis into organs, blood arteries, hormone motherboards, tissues blanched, unquenched, untouched. 


Consent is ridiculous banter, powerless. Less meaning, more screening, scanning any gestating desire for danger, for flags red, wet with blood memory and muscles expert at locking, clenching, shutting down, all the way down to the faintest hunger for another, an artifact of a body unbloomed, unfound, left bound to choiceless imperatives and voiceless narratives of being a stranger to all. 


Marcia is the Senior Pastor in a Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. She is also the author of several books and chapters in anthologies. Marcia is deeply engaged in the work of collective and embodied healing around the wounds of race, sexuality, normativity, and scarcity. She lives in Fletcher, NC on a small farm with several animals. Her kids are grown and out of the house. And her life is intermittently crowded and frenetic, and quiet and reflective. Marcia’s poetry is a sustaining thread through it all.


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